Please tell my brothers that coasting down a hill in neutral is WRONG!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm a woman with a new Ford Ranger XLT. I have four idiotic brothers who
tell me it's bad to coast down hills in Neutral. Help me prove these men
WRONG!! -- Karen

TOM: They're right, Karen. They probably were wrong to make you taste frogs
when you were a kid ... and to tell you that you were adopted from space
aliens, but they're right about coasting down hills.

RAY: Coasting downhill is dangerous for several reasons. First of all,
without the natural braking action of the engine, you can pick up a lot of
speed in a hurry.

TOM: And in that situation, to keep from going too fast, you're likely to
overuse and overheat your brakes.

RAY: And overheating the brakes is no small matter. When they overheat, the
brake fluid can actually start to boil. And when the brake fluid boils,
your pedal goes right to the floor.

TOM: You also might need to make an emergency maneuver and accelerate to
get out of somebody's way. And if you're in Neutral, it'll take you longer
to do that -- maybe too long.

RAY: And finally, when you're coasting, the engine could stall without your
knowing it -- until you tried to stop or turn and found you had no power
steering or power brakes.

TOM: And as Homer Simpson would say at that point, Karen: "Doh!"

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